Street Trading and Market Operators

Closed 13 Dec 2023

Opened 20 Sep 2023

Results updated 30 Apr 2024

On 19 February 2024 the Regulatory Committee considered a report on the results of the consultation. Download the report.  The committee agreed to form a short life Member/Officer Working Group which would further examine appropriate city areas for street trading which could be managed directly by the Council.


For many years the Council has controlled street trading and the operation of markets by requiring these activities to be licensed.

A Street Trader’s Licence is needed to sell goods or services on the street - for example:

  • selling tourist gifts on the Royal Mile
  • ice cream vans
  • pedicabs
  • street food vans

A Market Operator’s licence is needed to operate a market where goods are offered for sale by more than one seller.

Requiring a licence for these activities means that the Council can check to make sure that they help to keep the city safe, clean, well-maintained and attractive. Street trading and markets should also provide more choice for customers, promoting and protecting the economic wellbeing of the city.

All licence holders are vetted during the application process to ensure that they are ‘fit and proper’ to hold a licence.  This means that Police Scotland carries out a criminal convictions check to ensure that the applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence and meet the conditions of being a licence holder.

Why your views matter

The Council’s Regulatory Committee makes decisions about how the Council controls certain activities in Edinburgh that require a licence. It does this by creating policies which make sure that Council officers make consistent decisions about licensing.

On 1 May 2023 the Regulatory Committee agreed to review the current Street Trading and Market Operator Policy, particularly about the licensing of these activities in the city centre. This is because there have been several changes in the city since the policy was originally agreed. For instance, there have been changes to the layout of popular street trading locations such as The Mound Precinct and Playfair Steps. Demand for the return of street trading locations at Hunter Square and the High Street continues. This must be balanced against the desire of organisers of temporary events for use of these locations.

Before the Council can change any policy it has to get the public’s views, and so this consultation asks what you think about street trading and the operation of markets in the city.

What happens next

Responses will be reviewed and a report will be presented to a future meeting of the Regulatory Committee for consideration.


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